Where to go for a weekend break in Scotland

weekend breaks in Scotland

Looking for weekend breaks in Scotland?

Want to get away from it all and plan a weekend break in Scotland. Us too!

Like most people, we spend much of our year squeezing our travels around Scotland into annual leave and weekends. With so little time to play with we want to plan the perfect staycation in Scotland – and often don’t want to spend hours driving up to the Highlands. Spending four hours in the car on a Friday night is not the most relaxing way to start your weekend in Scotland.

Thankfully, there are lots of places to explore for a Scotland weekend break – most of which are less than 2 hours drive from Edinburgh or Glasgow. Here are my ideas for brilliant staycations and weekends away in Scotland.

My favourite weekend breaks in Scotland ideas

  • Eat your way through the beautiful East Neuk of Fife
  • Visit sunny Angus for dramatic castles & glens
  • Explore the mountains and lochs of the Cairngorms National Park
  • Relax in Highland Perthshire
  • Go Munro bagging in the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs
  • Head north to go history hunting on Orkney (yes you can visit Orkney for a weekend!)
  • Discover Scotland in miniature on the Isle of Arran
  • Head to the highlands for fine dining on the Isle of Skye

Read on for how to plan your perfect weekend break in Scotland.

Foodie weekend breaks in Scotland

Love your Scottish food? Here is where to go on a foodie staycation in Scotland.

Eat through the beautiful East Neuk of Fife

For foodies, Fife is heaven – try freshly cooked seafood from the Lobster Hut in Crail, head to Anstruther for traditional harbourside fish & chips, or a Michelin starred lunch at The Peat Inn. Fancy a BBQ? Pick up your own dinner at Bowhouse Market or Ardross Farm Shop. Plus Fife is just across the water from Edinburgh – 30 minutes in the car or on the train and you are on holiday!

Looking for things to do in Fife? I suggest working up an appetite for all that food on the Fife Coastal Path, a 117-mile walking route on the east coast of Scotland from North Queensferry to St Andrews and beyond to Newport on the River Tay. I recommend spending a weekend break in the East Neuk (‘east corner’) of Fife and walk the path from Elie to Crail via some of Scotland’s prettiest villages, St Monans, Pittenweem and Anstruther.

Bringing the kids? The Fife Coastal Path is suitable for all ages and they will love discovering the East Neuk’s tiny harbours, playing cricket on the beautiful stretches of sandy beaches and strolling around the lovely Cambo Estate. 

Check-in:

Glampers will love Catchpenny Safari Lodges which are located right on the coastal path or how about staying in a shepherds hut at Craigduckie Farm? Stay in a traditional inn at the Ship Inn in Elie or pretend you are a local and rent a seaside cottage – try Harbour House or Sandcastle Cottage in Crail and the Admiralty House in Pittenweem.

Read more:

For the perfect short break in Scotland – head to the Isle of Skye

Skye might be more famous for its dramatic scenery, but the food on Skye is pretty good! From fresh seafood and shucked oysters to multi-course fine dining to Michelin stars, a weekend break on Skye is worth going the (quite a few) extra miles for.

For lunch, head to The Oyster Shed for freshly shucked slippery suckers, Scottish prawns & mussels, or the Old Inn at Carbost (excellent fish, fish & more fish) where you can also enjoy the local Skye & Cullin breweries or try the woodfired pizzas from Cafe Sia – they are also available to take away if you prefer.

For dinner head to Stein, a remote hamlet on the far north coast of Skye and an unusual place to find a Michelin-starred restaurant, but down on the waterfront is Loch Bay Restaurant serving up 7-course fruit de mer tasting menus and a la carte lunches. Over at Loch Dunvegan is The Three Chimneys, a fine dining restaurant in a croft cottage. The Three Chimneys is one of the world’s ultimate destination restaurants and a Scottish icon and one for your bucket list.  

Check in:

The Old Inn at Carbost is a traditional pub with rooms, located out at what feels like the end of the world – you turn left at The Cullins and just keep going and going and going until you reach Carbost and the home of the Talisker Distillery. The rooms at the Old Inn are good value, but basic. The view from the pub, however, was worth every penny. The pub has a beer garden right out on the water. Prefer glamping? Set peacefully in the owner’s garden surrounded by trees are Syke Yurts, perfect for families and Fire, which is designed for couples. With no wifi or mobile phone signal you are guaranteed peace and quiet – a luxury on this most popular of islands.  

Read more:

Outdoor staycations in Scotland

Love the outdoors? Here’s how to plan a weekend break in Scotland outdoors.

Explore Angus for dramatic castles & glens

With beautiful beaches, the dramatic Dunnottar Castle and as much fresh fish as you can eat, not to mention the most sunshine in Scotland, the Angus coast is a hidden gem for weekend breaks in Scotland. 

For city trippers looking for a staycation in Scotland, Dundee has undergone something of a renaissance to become ‘Scotland’s coolest design city’ including the rather spectacular V&A in Scotland. If you fancy getting outside climb up to the Cairngorm plateau, the UK’s largest area of high mountains and the views stretch for miles across Glen Clova and the dramatic Corrie Fee.

Looking for fish & chips? The Bay in Stonehaven was voted the UK’s best food experience. Over in Arbroath, ‘smokies’ are a delicacy – haddock is dried in salt and then smoked over oak and beech chips for about an hour, often over whisky barrels.

Check-in for your weekend break in Scotland

There are glamping tents and a huge field for campers at Greenhillock as well as pizza ovens and plenty of space for kids to play. If you are looking for luxury, the Hideaway Experience has secluded lodges with hot tubs and views for miles.

Read more: things to do on the Angus Coast

Turn off the A9 and head to the Cairngorms

The A9 road takes travellers from the Central Belt right to the north coast of Scotland and is one of the countries’ busiest roads – but it is well worth spending a weekend exploring the towns along the route. Visit the pretty Perthshire villages of Dunkeld and Pitlochry, Blair Atholl and its castle, stop for photos at the gorgeous Queen’s View over Loch Tummel and explore the Victorian Hermitage garden.

Further north is Dalwhinnie, Scotland’s highest whisky distillery, Wildcats at the Highland Wildlife Park at Kingussie and all the attractions of the Cairngorms National Park.  Foodies will love the Mountain Cafe in Aviemore which serves up incredible brunches – be prepared to queue!

Check-in:

Love eco-camping? Check into one of the handmade lodges at Gimme Shelter near North Queensferry. Travelling North? Balsporran B&B is right on the A9 and offers beautiful double rooms and excellent breakfasts perfect for weekend breaks in Scotland. If you like things off-grid and rustic the Lazy Duck near Nethy Bridge has a small campsite, a hostel and three lodges perfect to hide away in.

Get outside in Highland Perthshire

Highland Perthshire is one of my favourite places for weekend breaks in Scotland, with wooded glens to explore, huge lochs and lots of Munros to climb. Whilst you could rent a lodge with a hot tub and settle in for the weekend, why not horse ride along the River Tay at Kenmore, ride a RIB out onto the Loch with Loch Tay Safaris, go paddleboarding on Loch Earn, drive a 4×4 up a mountain, go mountain biking at Comrie Croft – or climb Scotland’s 10th highest mountain Ben Lawers? With so much to do in Highland Perthshire, you might just need a holiday when you get back!

Check-in:

The Mains of Taymouth Estate has a range of holiday cottages just metres from Loch Tay or the Four Seasons Hotel has a view to die for out over Loch Earn. Looking for luxury check into a Loch Tay boathouse or go for a cookery class (and eat your own handiwork) at Ballintaggart Farm. If you prefer to camp, then Comrie Croft offers up woodland and grass pitches as well as Swedish Katas

Munro bag in the Loch Lomond & the Trossachs 

With 41 mountains over 2000 ft to climb, the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park is a hill walkers paradise. Start slowly by climbing Conic Hill and Ben A’an for incredible views without much effort, then Ben Ledi for views over the whole National Park. Munro baggers will love Ben Lomond and Ben Vorlich and If you really want a challenge, Ben More (‘Big Hill’) is the highest mountain in the park. From the top there is an incredible view – but Ben More comes with a health warning – the path up the front is relentlessly steep.

Check-in:

You can’t get any closer to Loch Lomond than then Lodge on the Loch. This lodge-style hotel offers stylish rooms with balconies with the best view. Over in the Trossachs, the refurbished roadside inn style of Mhor 84 is a popular choice for foodies, but the rooms upstairs are good value too. For foodies, more Mhor can be found in Callendar, with fish suppers at Mhor Fish and pies at Mhor Bread.

Island weekend breaks in Scotland

You don’t have to go far in Scotland to spend a weekend break on a Scottish Island, here are a few of my favourites.

Go history hunting on Orkney

You might be surprised you can take a weekend break on one of Scotland’s most remote islands, however, Orkney is just 1 hour by plane from Edinburgh or Glasgow. Discover the incredible Skara Brae, a 5000-year-old Neolithic village discovered after a storm in the 1800s and Walk around the 104m wide Ring of Brodgar and the nearby Stones of Stenness. wonder at how people 5000 years ago managed to lift 14 m high stones and dig a 10 m deep ditch – all without metal tools.

Walk the coastal path from Stromness to Birsay, climb up to the Kitchener Memorial above 100m cliffs filled with seabirds to spot puffins and find Yesnaby Castle, a huge sea stack, popular with climbers. Find out the story behind the beautiful Italian Chapel – and learn about the POWs who decorated the stunning interior.

Check in:

Check into Instabillie, a self-catering cottage in a traditional Orkney croft house, with stunning views over rolling countryside, and the Bay of Skaill.

Read more: How to visit Orkney

Visit Scotland in miniature on the Isle of Arran

With rugged highland mountains, windswept beaches and ruined castles, and, of course, its own whisky, the Isle of Arran truly is ‘Scotland in Miniature’ – plus Arran is located in the Firth of Clyde, just 1 hour from Glasgow and 2 hours from Edinburgh. To get to the Isle of Arran you take the fast 55-minute ‘CalMac’ ferry from Ardrossan on the mainland to Brodick. If you don’t want to take the car, with a train connection from Glasgow, the Isle of Arran is one of Scotland’s most accessible islands – which makes it perfect for a weekend away!

Spend your days climbing Goat Fell, hiking to the Machrie Moor Standing Stones, visiting the King’s Caves, and the island’s two castles – Brodick and Lochranza – before touring the distillery, brewery and cheese shop!

Check in:

The very stylish Glenisle Hotel is located in the village of Lamlash, the top floor suite has a roll-top bath, a huge bed and views out over the bay and Holy Island. With modern rooms and a well-regarded dining room, the Douglas Hotel is located in Brodick overlooks the ferry terminal and Goat Fell. If you are looking for a spa hotel then look no further than the Auchrannie Resort. With a pool and beauty treatments on site, Auchrannie offers up a completely different way of staying on the Isle of Arran. There are lots of campsites on Arran – I love Glen Rosa, Lochranza and Bridgend

Read more: visiting the Isle of Arran

Is it Friday yet?

Love, from Scotland x

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